Basketball scandals "a pattern" of bad behavior by Pitino, U of L charges in letter
Two recent scandals in the University of Louisville men’s basketball program show “a pattern” of “inappropriate behavior” that justifies firing head coach Rick Pitino, the university’s interim president wrote in a letter to Pitino dated Tuesday.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Two recent scandals in the University of Louisville men’s basketball program show “a pattern” of “inappropriate behavior” that justifies firing head coach Rick Pitino, the university’s interim president wrote in a letter to Pitino dated Tuesday.
“Your involvement in these recent scandals cannot be considered isolated events,” U of L interim President Greg Postel wrote in the letter. “Instead, they are illustrative of a pattern and practice of inappropriate behavior.”
Postel’s letter is a necessary step in the process of firing Pitino for cause, as the coach’s contract mandates the university present “charges” against him and give him an opportunity to present evidence in his favor.
Pitino’s fate will be decided at a meeting of the U of L Athletics Association board of directors on Oct. 16, according to the letter, obtained under the Kentucky Open Records Act.
Pitino or his representative can appear at the meeting or present their case in writing, according to Postel's letter.
Pitino's lawyer, Steve Pence said he would be at the meeting but would not say if Pitino was going to attend.
"We have a different version of events that has not gotten out there," Pence said, adding that he was currently working on a response to Postel's letter.
U of L is trying to establish cause to fire Pitino. Otherwise, the university would have to pay the remaining balance of his contract, more than $40 million through 2026.
The university charges Pitino with violating his employment agreement in eight ways related to the two scandals -- one involving escorts entertaining players and recruits in a campus dorm; and last month’s criminal complaint linking the university to a bribery scheme involving basketball recruits.
Postel cited Pitino's "involvement" in the two scandals, though the letter does not explain in detail how Pitino was involved.
In the earlier scandal, related to the hiring of self-proclaimed madame Katina Powell and her escorts by former basketball assistant Andre McGee, Postel previously took a position that Pitino was unaware of the stripper parties that went on in Minardi Hall.
On June 15, the day the NCAA handed down penalties in the Powell case, Postel defended Pitino in a statement, saying the ruling was "unfair to Coach Pitino, who we believe could not have known about the illicit activities."
A spokesman for Postel did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
New charge against Pitino related to agent on campus
Postel's letter introduces a third charge against Pitino for his alleged failure to notify the athletic department’s compliance office when an agent was on campus in late May.
Christian Dawkins, one of the men charged in the federal probe, was at U of L “for purposes related to the basketball program,” according to Postel’s letter. Not informing the compliance staff of his presence was a violation of Pitino’s contract, Postel wrote.
Dawkins was charged in the federal criminal complaints as one of the men who allegedly participated in a scheme to funnel money from Louisville's official apparel sponsor, Adidas, to U of L recruits.
In fact, Dawkins was caught on tape talking about plans to send money to a prospective Louisville recruit during an FBI sting operation in a Las Vegas hotel room in late July, according to court records. He was indicted on four counts of wire fraud.
An FBI agent said in an affidavit that Dawkins had “dealt with coaches at University-6,” or U of L, about recruiting another player who matches the description of freshman Brian Bowen.
Bowen was suspended from the team on Sept. 27, a day after the federal government revealed the charges.
The university also charges that Pitino failed to notify the U of L's compliance staff of "red flags" related to the "late surprise commitment" of Bowen, a top prospect who was not recruited by U of L yet decided to come to the school on June 3.
Here is a copy of Postel's letter:
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